Sunday, October 25, 2015

wisconsin science fair: dcrl handathon

Jill and I have been working for the last several weeks on printing hands at home on one of our 3D printers. I tuned the printer so that we could reliably print complete sets of parts for one complete hand at a time. With our setup, I was able to print one hand every 12-14 hours depending on the size of the hand. We even took the printer home with us to Illinois so we could print hands while we were visiting with family and I was attending the Blacksmithing conference at SIU a few weeks ago. We have been printing around the clock at home in order to create the necessary hands for our workshop. Jill was instrumental in making this happen as she would remove and start prints while I was at work. We ended up with 19 hands and I only had a couple of failed prints and that was due to me letting it run out of filament a couple times. 

Our Wisconsin Science Festival event was yesterday at the DCRL. We had 26 participants and we were able to complete eleven hands during the hour long event and we have eight other hands that are close to being complete. The DCRL student volunteers were a huge help to the participants and I was so proud to see them assisting and working together. My participation in Enable activities has been less than I would like in the last few months due to school and various other commitments and I sometimes feel bad that I am not able to do more. That said, this was a great event that I was happy we could host and it made me feel like I was able to spread the word in a more local and direct way. The focus was on education and sharing and Jill and the kids were even able to attend so we put on this event as a family. We will be donating these hands to people in need and hopefully our participants will become active in making  more hands as well. This event shows what can happen when you share a little time and effort with others. It also teaches the importance of connecting hand and mind to build something for your local community  It reminds me that my role as an educator is to share my time rather than worry about promotion, recruitment, and my own image, or the image of my institution or program. Just do what is pure in spirit and motivation and the rest will happen on it's own. I had several high school students at the event that mentioned that they should start building hands in their high school. This sounds like a plan to me!

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